Toxic exes are always available. They're often single because they're such commitment-phobes, they'll never settle down with anyone. (Well, not for a while, at least.)
Their without-fail availabilty makes it painstakingly easy to run back to them, especially when you know it'll give you that quick fix of a rush that you've been searching for lately.
I haven't dialed up my toxic ex in a looong time (not even drunkenly!), and I'm pretty damn proud of myself. (I am a recovering masochist, after all.) However, I still get the urge to dial him up during moments in which I feel especially weak or helpless, like when I have a particularly bad day at work or when I lose something important.
We all feel the temptation to relapse every now and then; it's only human.
But the next time you feel like running back into your ex's arms, I want you to do something different instead.
I want you to work out.
And no, I'm not suggesting this because I'm a gym rat. It's because I live for a good, natural high — one that doesn't derail my entire life, unlike *cough* my ex *cough.*
The rush from a workout is just like the rush you get from going back to an ex, except it's a million times healthier in every way. Here's why:
Working out can fulfill the challenge you're looking for.
You probably keep going back to him because you claim he challenges you. He fights with you for the sake of fighting, tells you you look bad in that outfit (when you probably look great) and doesn't respond to your text for hours.
Well, what he's really doing is breaking you down so he can build his ego up. It leaves you running in mental circles looking for a clear answer on where you two stand. It's exhausting.
When I really want to feel challenged that way, I'll lift weights. Lifting makes me feel stronger, and in moments when I'm feeling weak AF, feeling strong is exactly what I need.
If you already lift weights, try lifting heavier. I recently started working out with a trainer, and he made me realize I could lift more than twice the weight I was already lifting! Realizing I was actually almost as strong as the guys lifting around me was such a thrill.
Plus, you can take that physical strength with you after you leave the gym and turn it into mental strength. (I learned that in a dating workshop once.) Like the mental strength not to text him. You got this, girl.
Exercise endorphins are WAY better than ex-sex endorphins.
Yeah, I know. The sex with your ex was mind-blowing.
While it's true sex releases endorphins (and endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body similar to morphine, so they're important!), getting your sweat on in the gym also has the same effect.
For that giddy high you're looking for, I suggest running. Runner's high is a real thing, you know. There's also something about running that makes you feel invincible; when you run, it's like you're leaving all the bad shit in your life behind you, literally.
I know running or climbing the StairMaster isn't the same as gettin' it on doggy style, your fav pastime with your ex (sigh), but it's still something. And afterwards, you won't feel guilty.
Strenuous workouts feel new and exciting.
Trust me, a good, intense workout will feel just as exciting as going back to your hookup once did.
You know how every time you went back to him, everything felt shiny and new, like the way it felt when he touched you and the rare time he opened up to you emotionally?
Well, hard workouts can give you that rush, too. Switching up your routine pushes the strength of muscles you may not have been using in the past. Try a HIIT workout (high-intensity interval training), which engages all your muscles and requires you to move quickly and sharply in alternating intervals of medium to high intensity.
In 30 minutes, you'll feel absolutely dead, but also incredibly proud. Getting a rush from feeling proud — one that will stick for hours after your workout ends — is much more fulfilling than getting a rush that will wear off quickly once you realize (AGAIN) that you and your ex will never work.
Fitness moves you forward, not backward.
Running back to your toxic ex just sets you a million steps backward. But a new workout plan can make you feel rejuvenated, and you'll think in ways you haven't thought before.
Not only will you become more impressed by your physical performance, but also your physical appearance, which is an added bonus. Keep in mind, too, that exercising habitually helps you sleep better at night (it helps me), decreases stress levels and gives you more energy throughout the day! That's how working out can move you forward.
If you're feeling the ex itch, try a new exercise you've never done before! If you're a cardio bunny, take a Pilates class. If you're a weightlifter, try a rock-climbing or tae-kwon-do class.
All in all, don't take the easy way out. I know it's easier to dial a familiar phone number than it is to throw on some gym clothes, make your way to a new class and actually start doing shit. But no one ever said anything worth doing would be easy.
Working out regularly will boost your mood, increase your fitness levels, ease your anxiety and make you feel all-around better about yourself. It will also give you that rush you've been craving.
Can you say all the same good things about going back to your ex? Nope. In fact, I believe he'll do just the opposite of all that.
So when you find yourself teeming with energy and nothing to do with it, don't call him up. Exercise. Your body and mind will thank you.